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Getting acquainted with Death

>> Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I'm reading this book by Markus Zusak entitled "The Book Thief." It's set during the Nazi Germany, where Jews were persecuted and sent to concentration camps. I really don't like books like these, because it always upsets my tummy. I hate torture, I hate how a man like Hitler could have the guts to slay so many humans in one go.

Why in the world am I reading this?

1. There are no gruesome details on the torture.
2. Germans have hearts too.
3. Saying "Heil Hitler" seemed to be the only way to keep them alive.

and

1. It involves a child.
2. It involves a child who loves books.
3. It involves a child who loves books but cannot afford them.
4. It involves a child who loves books but cannot afford them, therefore she resorts to stealing them.

Where does she steal them?

1. She steals books from burnt piles of Jewish propaganda materials.
2. She steals books from her neighbor's house.

It's the first time that I've heard of a book thief. Usually it's food or clothing that people steal. Never books. One character said, "You can't eat books." So why steal them?

Books bring comfort. Books bring education. Books bring sick people to life.

Books can cheat Death from taking your life. Death steps back and realizes that it's not yet his time to take your soul.

"The Book Thief" is written in the point of view of Death. It's like having an intimate relationship with Death. With that setting, you lessen your fear of Death and realize that Death makes choices too. He knows when the right time is. Is it time to end his life now? Or let him live to realize something more? Being Death is a big responsibility. Being Death is a job.

"They say that war is death's best friend, but I must offer you a different point of view on that one. To me, war is like the new boss who expects the impossible. He stands over your shoulder, repeating one thing. Incessantly. 'Get it done. Get it done.' So you work harder. You get the job done. The boss, however, does not thank you. He asks for more."

Death is a eternal job. He can't quit. He can't resign. The circumstances around him are his bosses. His workplace is the world. Every corner, every nook, every large space with people.

Death has something to do with the book thief. I'll come to that part. I shall have to be patient and let Death do the talking.

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